The Six (6) Steps in Facilitation
- Listening: an effective enterprise facilitator is a good listener, almost like a ‘business psychiatrist’. Allowing the business person time to fully articulate. A question might be – ‘can you describe your market for me?’ It is all about bringing the person to self realisation.
- Questioning: There may be questions that need to be asked of the person to complete the picture. For example, if the client’s issue is difficulty in reaching the market
- Brainstorming and idea generation: it is important for a facilitator to not limit the range of problem solving options available to a client. Both client and facilitator will have ideas that could be tried. There are ideas and potential solutions to a problem that may have never occurred to either you or the client. The words ‘what if…’ should be often heard in a conversation between an enterprise facilitator and a client. ‘What if we looked at the market differently? What if you targeted a different segment of the market? What if you changed the way you are promoting the product?’
- Business planning: the process of building a business plan is very useful. Business planning never stops and a business plan is always ‘work-in progress’. What is valuable is to continuously work at it, update it, improve it. An effective business facilitator will endeavour to get the business enterprise owner to think about their business plan and how the current problem fits into the plan. The adage ‘working on the business’ not ‘working in the business’ is relevant here. You as their facilitator should help them do this. If there is no business plan under way then you should endeavour to get them to start to build one.
- Action: he or she came to you to get a resolve for their problem. You have listened, helped them brainstorm options and let them see the issue in the context of their business plan. Now you need to help them take action. You will have other sources of information, contacts and networks and now he or she needs a plan of action. With your help, the client needs to set out a series of steps that can be taken to try to resolve the problem or address the issue.
- Reflecting: some time later you should contact the client and check out how things are going. This would be reassuring for them but also provide valuable feed-back for you on the process you used and the effectiveness of various actions taken. It will help you improve as a facilitator the issue or problem without comment or interruption is crucial. The whole picture is important. Once the story is told then the facilitator needs to go back, ask questions and clarify any issues that are unclear.